It was a busy day at Madness...Crossword and Otherwise. There were more than 1,600 visits to the blog...about three times more than the average Tuesday...but not a single comment. I guess it's a busy time everywhere.
Today's puzzle, by Daniel Kantor, included several examples of A GOOD DEAL, appearing at 60A and clued as [What 17-, 25-, 36- or 50-Across is]. And the theme answers are:
17A: 21 in two cards (BLACKJACK). I'm always happy when that's the deal I get. Nice tie-in with 16A: Vegas request (hit me).
25A: Happy hour offering, maybe (TWO FOR ONE)...another tie-in at 29A: Drinking sprees (benders).
36A: C.E.O. protector (GOLDEN PARACHUTE).
50A: Huge amount, slangily (BAJILLION). Is that more than a gazillion? If I had a bajillion dollars, it would definitely be a good deal of money.
Strangest word in the puzzle is at 4A: Discourse topic (thema). I've never heard the word, and it isn't in my dictionary. I originally had theme, but I know that 8D: Neighbor of Mo. is ARK, not ERK.
Favorite clues in the puzzle include 23A: Circular seal (O-ring), 62A: Citified (urban), 63A: Initiates, in a cruel way (hazes), 1D: Pal around (with) (hobnob), 22D: Means of exit (off ramp), 40D: Place to brood (coop), and 58D: Gloomy guy? (Gus).
19A: Williams of "Happy Days" (Anson). I had a brain lapse as I was writing the word...ending up writing Ansel and wondered why I couldn't make the downs work up in that corner.
41A: __ Fixe (Idée). Love the word and its definition...an idea that dominates the mind; a fixed idea; an obsession.
55A: __ Kovic, role for Tom Cruise (Ron). This was Tom Cruise at his best, playing Vietnam vet Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July. I liked Tom Cruise back then...back in the days when he didn't jump around on furniture and make a complete ass of himself. I think this is actually Ron Kovic, though...not Tom playing Ron.
58A: Like melted caramel (gooey).
65A: Brit's blade (sabre).
66A: Fishhook attachment (Snell).
11D: Dress shop compliment (it's so you). Don't you think they sound so sincere when they say that?
35D: Airport security request (photo ID). That reminds me of a funny story, but it's a long story...and maybe you had to be there.
38D: Willy Loman player on Broadway (Lee J. Cobb). We read Death of a Salesman in an English class...I was Willy's long-suffering wife, Linda. "He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person." If it's ever done at a theater in town, I'd like to read for that part.
51D: Rumormonger's start (I hear). I hate gossip. What a waste of energy. I used to work in the corporate office of a large grocery store chain, with several hundred employees. I got so tired of office gossip. I'm so blessed to be working in a small office where the employees just do their work.
I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I'll wrap this up. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.